( I wrote a lot more but had to edit cause of the 1000 word limit) As a drama Hollywood type sub flick, I gave Crimson Tide a 6. But I just watched it on HBO tonight and have to say it is one of the most unrealistic sub movies I've ever seen. I was in the silent service and qualified in submarines. Of course a lot of what I'll write would not bother the casual viewer, but the discrepancies, details and plot were just too much to overlook.
To start with, Gene Hackman's dog coming underway with him is a load of Huey and really made me look down on this picture from the beginning. The Chief of Naval Operations himself would not or could not bring a pet on a ship with him.
They threw in a few catchy phrases and buzz words but for the most part the terminology used in the control room was made up. Even for an Ohio class boat the set for the movie's submarine was entirely too spacious. The "crawl spaces" the XO used to sneak into the control room was ludicrous. Submarines do not have anything like that. They are tightly packed with equipment and machinery and simply do not have that kind of space.
I still don't understand how the reactor was scrammed and lost propulsion from the torpedo that hit in the stern and caused all that flooding. If anything was damaged that badly, it's not getting fixed at sea. This isn't Star Trek.
The radio scenario was absolute rubbish as well. There are so many redundant comms systems on board and inside the radio shack, no way would one receiver getting fried completely isolate the ship from command authority. The EAMs might have looked good on the screen but the real deal and Sealed Authentication System is so much more complicated, it's not even funny. There is literally dozens of yellow pages thick manuals covering nuclear command and control systems, and without going into classified details, I cannot believe something like this could ever happen on board a US submarine.
There is no way people would be aiming guns around like they were in the movie either. On a real submarine which is packed with 3000 pound hydraulics and high pressure air systems, 1 bullet could kill everyone in a compartment in which it was discharged. The beginning of the movie with the fire in the galley was a load too. Fires are the biggest threat to ships safety and if they had a fire in real life, the CO would immediately surface the ship to fight it. A fire in such an enclosed space, would make so much smoke, within minutes you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, and the ship would have to emergency ventilate. Let alone the nonchalant way they dealt with that one guy dying. And of course no real submarine CO would run a drill 2 minutes after securing from a real fire. If someone was killed in a casualty, the CO would be sweating bullets.
Tony Soprano making that fat dude drop and do push ups on the bus. Talk about unprofessional. People have an unrealistic view of military discipline. That may happen in boot camp but not in the real fleet. Also that COB was unbelievably fat. No he wouldn't fit on a submarine and they don't even let people that big in the military.
Also, these SSBN's are on tightly regimented patrol cycles, with 2 crews. There are always some on patrol in alert status. The XO and weps wouldn't get paged to get underway. If they were on their off-crew period, the other crew, blue or gold would have the ship and it would already be at sea. If something goes down, you need subs ready to launch already, you may not have the luxury of even the time it took the Alabama to get underway.
The entire crew wears puppy suits, underway, officers included. Also you don't salute underway. If the captain walks by you acknowledge him but don't salute. The movie really made enlisted people look dumb imo. They are the experts on the ship's systems. And officers usually are the ones asking the dumb questions. The fight in the crew's mess over the silver surfer was a huge stretch. They give psych tests and such to submariners, one of the main goals to weed out people who can't handle stress and are hot heads. Not to say people wouldn't argue but if they were throwing punches, they'd have both been written up and in deep ****.
And the last thing was the ending. If anything remotely happened like this in real life, you can bet the Commanding Officer who held a loaded gun to an innocents head would be court marshaled and sent to prison. Not just allowed to quietly retire. Also no CO has the pull to just get their XO a command. Less than half of XOs even make the cut and get command. You have to be the creme de la creme to get command of a nuclear submarine and follow a strict career outline.
It was an enjoyable movie. But I've read some of the threads about, who's side would you be on, Hackman's or Washington's, and really the whole scenario is just beyond anything that is remotely reasonable!
This movie was the "Deep Impact" of sub flicks. Might as well have said Alabama was going to drill through the bottom of the ocean floor and disturb the earth's core to cause a magnetic flux that would stop the Russian missiles from launching. LOL Bottom line, its a decent flick, but don't think it is even close to accurate or realistic.